Preparing for a performance is difficult enough in the best of circumstances, and with this pandemic a few more challenges are added on. Things such as, say, meeting the people you’re going to be practicing with have to be thought through. Luckily, there are online meets. It’s clear that for every barrier, there is a tech-based solution.
I spoke with Mia Deleo and Brooke Hale, two juniors who are actively involved in the school plays, to see how they would respond to a few questions.
First and foremost, there are a couple differences between preparing for a play online versus in person. When I asked what exactly those differences are, Deleo replied, “There is definitely a major difference for preparing. Usually we rehearse lines together so the chemistry is hard to connect over an app, you know? It’s weird to sit down on a screen in an empty room and become a whole different character, and we usually have to set up for our scenery so it’s kind of odd to all be in different places. I also am assistant director so it’s hard not to see the cast members and not help them; it’s like going in blind.”
The expression “going in blind” is a perfect way to describe what she and many others feel during these moments of uncertainty. Hale responded with a different angle: “Well one major difference is that this year we are doing two plays instead of the typical one, which does make some scheduling difficult but is ultimately pretty cool and great for getting people more experience in acting.” Doing two plays at once is great if a person wants to get experience or even just do something fun during the pandemic.
There are many challenges that wouldn’t arise if the plays this year were in person. Specifically, there is the question of the amount of time it takes to make a production. I asked both students whether they felt that the amount of time required would change and whether the bonds between the cast members would change. Deleo said that it definitely would take longer and affect the bonds between the cast. From technical issues to the time it takes to prepare for two plays instead of one, it all adds up to a longer production time.
Hale, on the other hand, said,” I think it has technically taken less time in total to prepare for the plays this year compared to years prior, but it’s also much more draining preparing and acting everything at home than it would be if we were in person, so at least personally working on this year’s play has felt longer than normal.” The feeling of sitting in the same spot for hours on end is very draining, and I can’t imagine preparing for a performance under these circumstances. With that being said, both cast members agreed that because of this the bonds between cast members have changed. Seeing them in person would be ideal, but since that can not happen, some of the connection is lost.
I ended with the question of what each play is about (no spoilers, though, of course!) The first one is named A Game and features a small cast. Each participant “competes” in a game. The second one, called The Lottery, is directed by Mia Deleo, who said, “It is so fun because we do accents; I love our costumes and we do it in a radio format so it’s just us speaking to the camera but it’s going to be cool!” Both plays have a hint of humor in them, which the audience is sure to love. Hale noted, “Both plays are pretty unique and surprising in their own ways, and I think they fit this year’s situation well. Honestly they’re a bit difficult to summarize so I’ll suggest everyone watches to find out!”
The plays will be released for online viewing. Don’t miss them.